Page 1

Tech innovation


V9-OTI Cover-shortlist.indd 1

3/17/20 03:04 PM

Untitled-2 1

04/03/2020 08:59

We know gaming!

Start generating revenue with Gladi8tor gaming entertainment Gladi8tor brings the best in gaming entertainment and creates a host of opportunities for you and your partners to foster and expand customer loyalty with today’s digital natives and gamers. Visit us at AIX 2020 at stand 4B11 to see the possibilities.

WWW.GLADI8TOR.COM Untitled-3 1 gladi8tor-OBH_02-03-20.indd 1 half page template.indd 1

02/03/2020 14:01 2-3-2020 14:14:17 3/13/20 12:34 PM


EDITORIAL EDITOR Julie Baxter julie.baxter@onboardhospitality.com JOURNALISTS April Waterston, Jessica Pook & Sasha Wood

Tech’s time to shine


s we enter the new decade, technology has perhaps never played such an important part in all our lives. The challenges of COVID-19 have highlighted in an instance just how tech can help us in a crisis, and no doubt beyond.

CONTRIBUTORS Neal Baldwin CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Laura Gelder, Andy Hoskins, Jo Austin (For Taste of Travel enquiries: jo.austin@onboardhospitality.com) EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Steve Hartridge

PUBLISHER Sue Williams sue.williams@onboardhospitality.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Craig McQuinn craig mcquinn@onboardhospitality.com


BMI PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTOR Matt Bonner CEO Martin Steady SUBSCRIPTIONS Kay Fisher subscriptions@bmipublishing.co.uk (PRINT) ISSN 2046-2042. ©BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2020. ONBOARD HOSPITALITY IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON, SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. COVER IMAGE: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM Regularly read in over 70 countries worldwide and mailed to our 15,000+ international database. Read this magazine in digital form, share it virtually or subscribe. If you are looking for a supplier or caterer, check out onboardhospitality.com/finder

Get yourself connected online  @OBHMagazine �Onboard Hospitality at linkedin.com onboardhospitality.com

CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE IN AIR, RAIL & CRUISE onboardhospitality.com/awards

Julie Baxter EDITOR Onboard Hospitality

Video-telephony and wifi conferencing, medical apps and updates, e-learning and e-commerce are all being championed as ways to keep us safe and oil the wheels of commerce in these uncertain times. We may not be reaching for our airline tickets in quite the usual numbers, but we are all refreshing our remote working tools and further embedding technology into our daily lives. Technology is gaining a new public profile as an enabler, keeping people connected and providing the tools for both work and play, in the most difficult times. Technology has a chance to shine and this supplement aims to showcase that too, focusing on the power of insights available through social listening (page 8), the unstoppable growth of gaming (page 20) as well as a range of other tech innovations directly impacting the passenger experience in retail, wellbeing and F&B. The more we find solace and support from technology on the ground, the more useful and productive it will be for airlines, rail and cruise operators, and the more creative provision can become onboard. Think positively and shine on.

IN THIS ISSUE... 04 NEWS AND TRENDS: Your industry update / 08 SOCIAL POWER: Digital listening & predicting / 12 IN CONVERSATION...with Tanguy Morel, Moment / 14 CASE STUDY: Reinventing retail / 15 HOW TO... gain next-gen loyalty / 16 GAME ON: Get switched on to inflight gaming / 18 HOW TO... lighten up with cabin tech / 19 FOCUS ON: Le Petit Chef animated chef / 20 FTE APEX PREVIEW: Get set for Singapore / 22 HOW TO... keep content current / 23 AWARDS: Our tech finalists


welcome_V2.indd 3

3/17/20 04:21 PM

4 / industry update

Onboard Tech Innovation

your industry update


echnology touches all elements of the passenger journey. Here we showcase some of the latest innovations. Check out our online coverage and weekly enews updates for more. Send your news to april.waterston@onboardhospitality.com

sKylights vr boards Kiwirail

gx aviation hits milestone

Inmarsat’s GX Aviation solution has now powered more than one million free inflight broadband sessions for Air New Zealand passengers. "The fact that over one million sessions have been enjoyed by passengers since the free-of-charge model was introduced in December 2018 is testament to incredibly strong demand for high-speed, reliable and easy to access inflight broadband," says Chris Rogerson, Inmarsat's regional vice president for Asia Pacific. inmarsat.com

Passengers on KiwiRails’ Interislander ferry service in New Zealand can now access cinematic VR entertainment onboard. Furnished by SkyLights, the VR cinema glasses provide customers with their own private movie theatre where they can enjoy the latest 2D and 3D blockbuster films as well as travel and relaxation content. The service is available to passengers travelling on KiwiRails’ three Interislander ferries. It is available for free in the onboard Plus lounges and to rent elsewhere for NZ$20 per adult and $15 per child. skylights.aero

aa translates with google

American Airlines has become the first airline to test Google Assistant’s interpreter mode technology in its airport lounges. The airline is testing the new technology at Admirals Club lounges at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The device can translate 29 languages. aa.com


OTI TECH Ross_V2.indd 4

3/17/20 03:12 PM

industry update / 5

Immfly Investment

Joker boards iberia Express

Immfly has received a strategic This February Immfly and Iberia Express screened investment from Boeing Horizon X. Joker in a special event onboard a flight from Madrid. “Boeing and Immfly share a common The onboard event marked the introduction of vision to continue growing the digital Warner Bros content onboard Iberia capabilities provided to airlines Express’ IFE platform, Club Express to enhance their onboard Onboard. SLM experience and develop new "One of our ongoing objectives integrates revenue streams,” says is to provide a differentiated flymingo Immfly executive chairman experience to our customers,” Moment has been selected by Jimmy Martinez von Korff. 
 says Paloma Cabañas, head Surinam Airways to integrate the Immfly is one of just of customer experience Flymingo Box solution onboard the four companies outside and inflight services at airline’s fleet. Moment will also be the United States to join Iberia Express. "Onboard responsible for the acquisition of the Boeing HorizonX entertainment is a key content for Surinam Airways’ portfolio. immfly.com component of our value wireless IFE and Panasonic boeing.horizon proposition.” immfly.com seat-back screens. moment.tech

swiss upgrades

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has concluded the cabin refurbishment programme for its Airbus A340 aircraft fleet. All five aircraft in the fleet have now been provided with a totally new cabin including a new inflight entertainment system. As a result, SWISS now offers its passengers internet connectivity onboard throughout its long-haul fleet. swiss.com

viasat partners with fubotv

Viasat and fuboTV have announced a video streaming distribution and technology partnership to advance content delivery and consumption in flight. The partnership is the first to leverage innovative technology standards from the global technical association, the Streaming Video Alliance, and apply them to inflight connectivity. viasat.com; fubo.tv


OTI TECH Ross_V2.indd 5

3/17/20 03:12 PM

6 / industry update

aix postponed but #newsneverstops

Reed Exhibitions, the organiser of the Aircraft Interiors Expo, World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo and the Passenger Experience Conference, has been forced to postpone these events following the escalation of COVID-19 in Europe. At the time of going to press the new dates are not yet confirmed but to support the industry at this time Onboard Hospitality is stepping up its publishing initiatives. The print edition of the magazine and this supplement are going ahead as planned and will be mailed directly to all key buyers and suppliers worldwide. In addition, in the week that AIX would have taken place (March 30 – April 3), the editorial team will publish Onboard Hospitality Daily – sharing news, launches, product developments and the Onboard Hospitality Awards results that would have been showcased in Hamburg. If you have news, views or opinions to share contact julie.baxter@ bmipublishing.co.uk

ba trials 3d printing

British Airways is trialling 3D printers to create aircraft parts. These printers would be located at airports around the world to reduce delays for customers and emissions caused by transporting items. The airline’s innovators predict that non-essential cabin parts will be first on the list to be generated, including pieces of tray tables, entertainment systems and toilets. ba.com

air canada continues to modernise fleet

capacity deal for gogo and hispasat

Gogo and Hispasat have announced a capacity agreement on Amazonas Nexus satellite to meet the growing global demand for high-speed inflight connectivity services. Gogo has leased multi-gigahertz of Ku-band capacity onboard Hispasat’s new satellite, set to launch in the second half of 2022, to provide services to its customers in the Americas and the Atlantic region. gogoair.com; hispasat.com

Air Canada has unveiled the newest member of its fleet, the Airbus A220-300 complete with Panasonic inflight entertainment. Every seat on the A220 features the Panasonic system with content available in 15 languages and featuring more than 1,000 hours of entertainment, including content from Bell Media’s entertainment service, Crave, and Montréalbased multi-platform audio service, Stingray. The system also offers dynamic closed-captioning for the deaf and is accessible to the visually impaired. The A220 will also have satellite-based, high-speed wifi access. Additional features include full-colour LED ambient and customisable mood-lighting which contributes to reducing fatigue while travelling. aircanada.com


OTI TECH Ross_V2.indd 6

3/17/20 03:12 PM


industry update / 7

inflight vr now on qatar

Qatar Airways has introduced virtual reality (VR) onboard in partnership with Inflight VR. The system is exclusively available to Qsuite and Business class travellers onboard flights from Doha to Singapore and London as part of a pilot programme until mid-March. “We are excited to have the opportunity of working with Qatar Airways,” says Moritz Engler, ceo of Inflight VR. “They have continued to put the customer first and remain a gamechanger in the aviation industry, proving time and again why they are masters of their craft.” qatarairways.com; inflight-vr.com

successful launch of GX5 satellite for inmarsat

Inmarsat has confirmed the successful launch of GX5, the fifth satellite in its Global Xpress (GX) network delivering GX Aviation and Jet ConneX (JX) inflight broadband services. The satellite was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. It will bring additional, focused capacity over Europe and the Middle East to meet growing Air demand for high-speed passenger rouge wifi in the airline and business chooses gogo aviation markets. Connectivity provided by Philip Balaam, president Gogo is now available across the of Inmarsat Aviation, says: entire Air Canada Rouge fleet. “This next generation satellite Passengers can choose from a will deliver more capacity to selection of wifi packages to Europe and the Middle East suit their requirements with than the combined entire starting prices of $8.50 existing GX fleet (GX1-GX4) does CAD. gogoair.com worldwide." inmarsat.com

Contact us for your free demo now! The lightweight, portable ECR Go2 payment terminal features:

• 4G & WiFi • PCI DSS & ITSO • Integrated PED • All payment types • All-in-one handheld • 2D QR/Barcode scanner • Large 5-inch touchscreen • Integral silent thermal printer Proven to increase revenue, improve staff efficiency and drive the customer experience.


ECR_Pg7_OTI_V2.indd OTI TECH Ross_V2.indd 77

+44 (0)208-205-7766


3/17/20 03:11 03:12 PM

8 / social science

On average, 95 million posts on Instagram and 500 million tweets are shared every day onboardhospitality.com

SocialPower-new.indd 8

3/17/20 03:06 PM

social science / 9

Social power

Social media offers a mountain of information on what your passenger wants – but only if you know how to gather and interpret it, says April Waterston


ocial media often gets bad press over bullying and trolls or the life hours lost sharing cute cat photos and memes, but it really does increasingly have a serious side for the business world too. Over the past decade, the internet has infiltrated every aspect of modern life, with younger generations in particular constantly taking to social media to share their lives and, more importantly, their opinions. From sharing close-up photos of their #perfect #avocado #brunch to berating poor customer service, there’s a whole wealth of insights online just waiting to be accessed. But how does a business find the info they need when, on average, 95 million posts on Instagram and 500 million tweets are shared every day?

Social listening

One company helping businesses make the most of social media is Awario. With its social listening

and monitoring tool, Awario helps companies access data including insights on customers, market and competitors, all of which can be gained through tracking mentions on news sites, blogs, forums and social media. In-house social media or analysis teams can use the tool to track online mentions and engage with users in real time. “We offer a self-service tool – typically, a marketing team will use the platform to set up alerts, interact with users and analyse statistics provided by the tool,” explains Pavel Demidchick, customer success manager at Awario. “As passengers share their experiences – pleasant or, most commonly, not so much – Awario can help you discover these clients and join the conversation right from our tool.” The Belarus-based start-up made its first venture into the aviation world last year when it published a social listening report of the 10 best airlines of 2019, according to passengers. It selected 52 of the world’s leading airlines


SocialPower-new.indd 9

3/17/20 03:06 PM

10 / social science

(based on online rankings from sites such as Skytrax and TripAdvisor), and tracked the social media and news mentions over three months. It ended up with 2,860,554 mentions, which it then analysed to determine which gained 'the best sentiment' for passenger opinion. British Airways came out on top – even with passengers being subject to delays and strikes at the time.

Social prediction

Tools like Awario are great for an overview of what people are saying about your business in real-time. However, with the right information, it’s possible to predict what they’re going to be saying tomorrow, next month – maybe even next year. For example, Black Swan offers a social prediction tool called Fethr. David Griffiths, vp content, Black Swan, explains the difference between this and social listening. “Social listening explores a snapshot in time around a series of predefined

phrases and keywords,” he says. “Essentially, social listening technology looks at what it knows to look at based on the phrases it has been told to search for. “Social intelligence and prediction covers all the same ground the listening does but then takes things a few degrees further, with more involved data science and the use of bespoke, smart and curated datasets. All the datasets we leverage go through continuous processes of topic expansion and modelling, allowing us to identify trends, opportunities and threats we don’t know to even be looking for – as well as those we do know to look for.”

Stay ahead

By using this data, Fethr can predict what actions businesses should be taking to meet evolving customer needs to stay ahead of the curve. Some of the world’s biggest brands use Black Swan’s trend-tracking technologies, and the likes of Google, Pepsi and Unilever have created products inspired by its results. Recently Fethr has worked with a low-cost carrier in Europe. The aim was to identify trends and growth areas to provide a robust recommendation for range optimisation. “We’ve also just delivered a passenger-centric sustainability index for one of world's leading airline groups based on 800 million passenger conversations,” Griffiths elaborates. They have also been surfacing trends to help improve the dining experience and menus of another leading global airline's Business class offering.

Fethr can predict what actions businesses should take to meet evolving customer needs onboardhospitality.com

SocialPower-new.indd 10

3/17/20 03:06 PM

social science / 11

Digging deeper

catering a whole, identify the broader relevant trends; and highlight opportunities where maybe Going deeper still, Focus is a tool by Spectra it's not being done so well. We can look into Partnership that provides insight into consumers particular pain points and use a comparative tool and trends from content gathered across to get deeper insights on the competition.” multiple online platforms – and has been used by brands such as Cathay Pacific, WestJet and Marriott. “Focus is designed to develop a deeper Empowered decisions understanding of not only what people are doing, The insight analysis Spectra Focus provides can be but why they’re doing it,” says Jonathan Magee, invaluable in pitches. This could be anything from managing partner at Spectra Partnership. analysing brand perceptions and matching these “Our tool draws from social media, review to the values of airlines for brand partnerships, websites, forums, discussions and traditional to identifying the interests and preferences media – any publicly available of passengers based on online source.” their Instagram profiles to Focus shapes its search determine what additions query depending on what the to the passenger experience Focus is designed to customer wants to know. Do would mean most to them. develop a deeper they want to identify personas Companies like FORMIA understanding of not and Global-C have worked within their business travel only what people are with Focus to provide added segment, so they can better target them individually? justification to their proposals doing, but why Or is it that they’re trying in airline tenders, and adding to better understand areas these well researched facts for improvement within the customer journey? rather than simply making assumptions may just Once these key knowledge gaps are identified, be the future of true improvement in passenger the search queries can be structured to pull in experience. the most relevant information. Additional tools As Magee says: “Too often tenders get issued are then used to clean up the data to produce a based on a ‘gut feeling’ of what passengers concise dataset ready for human analysis. want, but we can help facilitate a clearer brief by “In addition we can also help conduct a showing what passengers are actually interested competitive landscape review,” Magee says. “Say in and responding to, so suppliers can offer a you want to compare one airline's offer against solution based on those facts.” anothers in terms of catering competition. A study awario.com; fethr.aero; can specifically look at how people are seeing the focusbyspectra.com •


SocialPower-new.indd 11

3/17/20 03:06 PM


Tanguy Morel Co-founder, Moment

French onboard technology provider Moment is on a mission to use tech to make the passenger experience simpler and more pleasant. April Waterston discovers how

Q. Last year you rebranded from Interactive Mobility to Moment. Why the change? A We wanted a brand name that better reflects our mission to make every moment of the passenger experience more simple, pleasant and connected. We believe that “Moment” underpins the focus of our company while highlighting its agile and innovative side. We had identified a gap in the entertainment segment of the transport industry in 2013 and founded Interactive Mobility then to develop that opportunity. Our objective was to develop solutions that would help transport operators meet customers’ needs in terms of positive, personalised and digitalised experiences during and after their trip. After a few years of continuous growth achieved by partnering with big players in the aerospace and maritime sectors, we felt it was time to move towards a new identity that supports our growth and ambitions. Q. Tell us your vision for e-commerce solutions? How can they support an airline's access to new revenue streams? A Introducing an e-commerce service onboard represents another source of revenue for transport operators as they look for strategies to stay

competitive. Transport retail benefits from passenger data collection that makes it possible to define targeted messaging according to the cabin class, flight demographic or destination. This re-invention of the e-commerce experience has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. With the support of Moment, transport operators can reinvent the shopping experience onboard. Sold as a white-label solution, the platform

A well thought out customer experience is key to meeting the challenge of digital transformation is customised to reflect the operator’s brand. From their personal electronic device passengers have access to immediate information on products without crew assistance and pay directly via an integrated payment system. The flexibility of the solution makes it possible to provide many services from a unique touchpoint. For instance, we have developed onboard digital services such as duty-free and snacks and meal orders. Moment’s platform is

designed to accompany the passenger throughout their journey and make travel a special moment. With this ‘more than just a journey’ experience, Moment wants to transform passenger relations into a performance and a loyalty factor.

Q. What opportunities have you spotted in rail? How does your new rail platform help? A As part of their digital transformation, rail operators also need to offer a differentiated passenger experience before, during and after the journey. In this sense, they have to renew their model, introduce new services onboard, while developing extra revenues. A well thought out customer experience is key to meeting the challenge of digital transformation and railway operators are looking for partners to support them in the development of innovative customercentric solutions. Moment has developed a platform dedicated to this sector to simplify passenger access to entertainment and digital services. Based on wireless technology, the platform allows passengers to connect from their electronic devices, via browser or application, to a range of services. The platform becomes a touchpoint that allows railway companies to analyse passengers’ data, personalise offers


in convo Tanguy Morel.indd 12

3/13/20 11:47 AM


and maintain contact with them after the journey. The solution exists in a software version – for connected trains – and in a hardware version. In the second option, Moment provides railway companies an end-to-end solution including the installation of the connectivity-ready system.

Q. How will digital e-commerce systems onboard evolve? A With operators increasingly looking to integrate e-commerce into their offerings, this will definitely have an impact on digital e-commerce systems. Over the past few years, we have seen an evolution with systems easier to install, smaller and more flexible. This is likely to continue evolving as operators look to bring more value to passengers and implement intelligent and personalised e-commerce services. Q. What does the next decade hold for digital solutions onboard? A The focus will be, without doubt, on IoT (Internet of Things), a crucial topic for the transport industry and an important vector of innovation offering new opportunities in terms of passenger experience and operational improvements. IoT will transform the industry by enabling innovative features for enhanced passenger comfort and safety, responding to growing and evolving passenger demands. Moment is continuously working on designing innovative solutions that meet the expectations of passengers and modern transport needs. We are currently developing IoT solutions for railway companies and airlines and our recently launched new server Flymingo Next will deliver smart and connected services in the aircraft’s digital cabin. moment.tech •


After graduating from the ESCE business school, Tanguy worked for groupe Sicam, and the Leyton group. He founded Moment in 2013 with Michaël Serres.


in convo Tanguy Morel.indd 13

3/13/20 11:47 AM


Reinventing retail April Waterston discovers how e-commerce specialist AOE helped KrisShop, Singapore Airlines' travel retailer, enhance its shopping experience


n some airlines, only 1% of passengers make an inflight purchase. Spend per passenger has been in decline but new business models, based on digital solutions, can provide airlines with new opportunities.

purchases and membership tier. Customer can choose to have goods delivered directly to their doorstep or, if they have an upcoming Singapore Airlines, SilkAir or Scoot flight, they can request delivery to their flight and enjoy duty-free prices.

Personalised offer

Bringing in brands



KrisShop wanted to provide customers with relevant content and products realtime. The seamless customer journey was to begin with the initial touchpoint of the website (KrisShop.com), which allows customers to shop at any time and anywhere. KrisShop worked with AOE to provide offerings that are tailored to each customer based on search criteria, past


In relaunching its inflight offering, SIA placed special emphasis on the highquality presentation of premium brands. This approach has motivated brands that had discontinued inflight sales to resume their sales efforts. The focus on premium brands benefits both the supplier and the airline, and provides new sources of revenue while opening up access to a larger customer base.

KrisShop's goal was to build an easy-touse omni-channel commerce platform to provide retail accessibility and convenience for its customers. To achieve this, KrisShop chose AOE’s Omnichannel Multi-Merchant Marketplace (OM3) to rebuild its platform.

krisshop-caststudy.indd 14

One way that the solution provides this is through featured brand pages. Michael Raasch, head of airline solutions at AOE explains: “Our partnership has been very fruitful and the solution enables KrisShop to tackle the various challenges that are facing the travel retail industry. “We have been told by numerous airline executives that our solution is regarded as an industry benchmark, due to its many new features and improved customer experience for the travellers, among other improvements. "The consistency of the user interface on all touchpoints – whether mobile or inflight – is another plus point, with everything processed in real time.” aoe.com/om3 •

The new KrisShop experience has been designed with "game-changing" features that keep the customer experience at the forefront, to meet the needs and demands of today’s customers,” says Chris Pok, ceo, KrisShop.

3/17/20 03:07 PM

how to... / 15

How to...

gain next-gen loyalty There’s $33 billion at stake for the airlines that can gain the loyalty of younger passengers. April Waterston explores why connectivity is the key Identify the gap

Generation Z and Next Gen will soon make up the largest group of air passengers worldwide, accounting for 1.2 billion passengers a year by 2028. They’re also one of the least loyal demographics, with 87% considered to be brand-agnostic. That means the custom of over a billion young passengers is up for grabs and airlines clearly need to make sure they are among the carriers of choice.

Stay connected

Inmarsat, in collaboration with the London School of Economics, conducted research into the additional revenue opportunities associated with inflight connectivity, for its report Sky High Economics. Among its results is a prediction that the value of passengers who choose to fly with an airline offering inflight wifi over one that does not is around $33 billion – equal to 6% of the market share. By offering fast, consistent connectivity in the sky, airlines can tap into this market.

Enhance the experience

The report also forecasts that broadband in the sky will generate $30 billion in additional revenue for airlines by 2025. It argues that solid internet connectivity does far more than just keep passengers entertained. Onboard connectivity also opens the gateway to premium inflight experiences. For example, by streaming exclusive live events, be

it concerts or sporting finals, airlines can offer unique inflight experiences and enhance retail opportunities, all with the potential for increased revenue streams.

Personalise the journey

Fact file There is $33 billion available to the airlines that can gain the loyalty of young passengers By 2028, this group will account for 1.2 billion passengers annually

Inflight wifi will generate $30 billion in additional revenue for airlines by 2025 87% of these passengers are airline brandagnostic

Gen Z/Next Gen has come to expect a level of personalisation in almost every aspect of their lives, including inflight. While other demographics raise privacy issues, these alwaysconnected passengers broadly accept the need to share data in exchange for connectivity. By learning to utilise the data they bring, seeing what they watch and how they browse, airlines can target them specifically. By presenting targetted offers, tailored advertising, relevant content and useful travel updates carriers can win over the next generation of connected passengers. inmarsataviation.com; lse.ac.uk •


how to...gain next-gen loyalty.indd 15

3/17/20 03:08 PM


Game On From head-to-head gaming onboard to streaming tournaments on the ground, the market for inflight gaming is one we should all switch on to, says April Waterston


he gaming industry is huge. The global games market was worth $148.8 billion in 2019, with mobile gaming accounting for $68.2 billion. According to gaming analytics site Newzoo there are 2.5 billion gamers worldwide – many of whom will also be passengers. This is something airlines are slowly catching on to. Last year, Southwest Airlines surprised passengers on their way to Comic-Con with a Nintendo-themed flight, complete with a giveaway of Nintendo Switch consoles for every passenger. Passengers were invited to play a special Super Mario Maker 2 game with a Southwest-themed course, and crew wore Mario and Luigi hardhats. However, to truly appeal to this ever-increasing demographic, it’s time to stop treating gaming as a novelty for geeks and instead treat it as an inflight standard, ranked as highly as film and TV.

Bring games onboard

One company realising gaming’s potential is Panasonic Avionics. With its Gaming portfolio, Panasonic aims to offer premium games created by globally-recognised brands including Toca Boca, Gameloft and, most recently, Riot Games. “Our aim is to include more storydriven content to get passengers playing for longer,” explains Sarah Eales, service product manager of Inflight Games at Panasonic Avionics

Corporation. “It’s good to have a mix of longer-form, story-based games, and simple games like traditional favourite, solitaire." One challenge is passengers may expect their inflight gaming experience to match what they get on their big screen at home. “We have to find a happy medium between console games and what is possible with the hardware on the aircraft,” says Sarah. “The line between what is and isn't a ‘console’ game is blurred. For example if you look at the games currently available on a Nintendo Switch, there are a lot of popular indie games that can work for onboard.”

Stream esports

Whilst it seems essential for airlines to increase their gaming offer onboard, there are certain hurdles to overcome. Hardware restrictions mean some games can't be implemented across all aircraft. However, any aircraft with an IFE screen and internet connectivity can provide a window into the world of gaming through the streaming of esports. A rapidly growing phenomenon, esports (electronic sports) are gaming tournaments where people compete head-to-head playing games in front of a live audience, with an atmosphere much like you’d expect at the NBA final. Esports is a $1.1billion industry, and according to Newzoo this figure is expected to grow 26.7% year on year. To put into perspective the scale of this segment, the League of Legends (LoL) 2018 tournament was watched for a total of 83,092,619 hours, according


Game on_v5.indd 16

3/17/20 04:38 PM


Connect to the market

In September last year Lufthansa Systems announced it had digitally adapted the fantasy card game Galaxy Duel and integrated it into its BoardConnect platform in partnership with gaming provider Gladi8tor. “Airlines need to have a platform to connect to this market,” says Gladi8tor cco Paul Staadegaard. “The Gladi8tor platform offers a varied selection of games as well as up-to-date gaming news, an esports channel and a webshop with competitively priced digital game products. The platform creates a host of new opportunities for airlines to foster to escharts.com. Putting live esports behind a and expand customer loyalty, generate revenue paywall is just one way airlines can monetise this and create branding opportunities for themselves growing market. and their partners.” Gaming also provides opportunities for auxiliary Galaxy Duel has the potential to incorporate revenue streams, for example through paid-for cards with airline branding, which offer demos or product placements onboard. While advantages within the game, encouraging players implementing popular console games like The to travel on particular airlines Legend of Zelda: Breath of to collect the cards they the Wild would require more need. And with players able advanced hardware than to play the game via an app is currently available, deals The League of Legends post-flight, this is a great could be made to have short (LoL) 2018 tournament way to stay engaged with demos or adapted versions was watched for a total passengers after they land. of bigger games onboard as a of 83,092,619 hours With the gaming industry way of advertising the game. only set to get bigger, Furthermore, if an airline and passengers seeking less passive and more could strike a deal for pre-release content of engaging content to keep them entertained highly anticipated games (for example, The Last of inflight, now really is the time for airlines to up Us: Part II, or Resident Evil 3), this could even sway their game. gladi8torgames.com; panasonic.aero • the avid gamers in their airline choice. onboardhospitality.com

Game on_v5.indd 17

3/17/20 04:38 PM

18 / how to...

How to...

lighten up Passenger wellbeing is moving up the agenda and cabin lighting technology is among onboard tools that can help, says April Waterston Study the science

Move over light bulbs and fluorescent strips, today the touch of a button turns us on to Human Centric Lighting (HCL). It’s the science of lighting and can support the health and wellbeing of humans wherever they are by combining the visual, biological and emotional benefits of light. And it can work for traveller wellbeing too. By emulating the natural lighting patterns we receive on the ground, it is possible to limit the effects of jet lag and trick the body into a new, local circadian rhythm before landing.

Identify solutions

to adjust light levels to enhance meal presentation and reduce eye strain, and simulate sunset and sunrise lighting. This can help passengers sleep and wake more naturally and gracefully, and helps thems adjust to time zone changes, rest better, and fall asleep faster.”

In November last year, Etihad Engineering, SCHOTT, Jetlite, and Lufthansa Technik signed an agreement to cooperate on HCL development. The collaboration aims to create an effective system for automated cabin lighting scenarios that will positively affect air travellers’ wellbeing.

Personalise lighting

Personalised lighting is key. Jetlite and Inflight VR have been investigating the possibility of a VR headset that could tailor the lighting to each passenger. Panasonic also offers personal lighting options with its Premium Seat Lighting solution, which allows each passenger to tune to their needs. Andrew Mohr, head of innovation at Panasonic Avionics, says: “Lighting can significantly enhance the passenger experience. Our solution is designed

Reduce motion sickness

Fact file If we can emulate the natural lighting patterns we receive on the ground, it is possible to trick the body into a new, local circadian rhythm and minimise the effects and impact of jet lag

VR headsets that could tailor the lighting to each passenger may be the key It is also possible to use lighting to minimise the chance of motion sickness

Lighting can also be used onboard to minimise the impact of motion sickness. A new product currently in testing onboard is a product called the Boarding Ring (pictured). Strips installed vertically inside the cabin light up to emulate the natural horizon – as the aircraft turns, the boundary of the lit-up section moves to give the impression of a moving horizon in the passenger’s peripheral vision. This is already working successfully on ships and in cars to alleviate travel sickness. •


How to lighten up V2.indd 18

3/13/20 11:53 AM


Le Petit Chef Diners aboard Celebrity Cruises’ latest ships are being entertained by a 3D animated chef. Neal Baldwin found out how a viral hit went mainstream


hroughout the ages, dinner has always been served with a side order or entertainment. Medieval courts had their jesters, Parisians had the Can-can and the Rat Pack rocked America. But what do you do in the digital age, when customers are used to more virtual fun? The answer comes from Skullmapping – a Belgian artistic collective run by Filip Sterckx and Antoon Verbeeck – which specialises in virtual reality, holograms and projection mapping. The pair created their business in 2010 and began looking at ways to enliven ‘static’ objects such as paintings and sculptures by projecting animation and films on to them. Success in the art world was followed, in 2015, by a lightbulb moment – the idea of a tiny 3D animated cook, ‘Le Petit Chef’, projected onto a diner’s plate and getting up to kitchen-related mishaps.

Going viral

“We made a video of ‘Le Petit Chef’ to show restaurants what the possibilities

Skullmapping’s own restaurant. After are,” recalls Sterckx. “After we posted incredible feedback, Celebrity realised it the video on YouTube, it went viral and had a hit on its hands – commissioning has had over 30 million views.” a bespoke story By 2017, for its latest ship, Skullmapping had Celebrity Edge. Sister developed Le Petit ship Celebrity Apex will Chef into a two-hour After incredible ‘show’ (he appears feedback, Celebrity also soon feature the cheeky character. when diners are Cruises realised it The latest show is waiting between had a hit on its hands called ‘Le Petit Chef courses), which and friends’ and followed the character features a cooking contest between Le in the footsteps of Marco Polo around Petit Chef, and other life-like rivals – the world. The big breakthrough has Spanish chef Maria, Italian chef Luciano been an exclusive partnership with and a Japanese chef Takahiro. “When cruise operator Celebrity Cruises, which was looking for a quirky concept for one the Japanese chef cooks, for example, the table is transformed into a pond of its onboard speciality restaurants. with cherry blossom petals and Koi fish swimming around,” explains Sterckx. Success onboard “In the end diners get to choose which Le Petit Chef appeared initially aboard chef wins by cheering, and he or she four of the cruise line’s vessels, using comes out to receive a golden hat.” • the Marco Polo-themed animation at


Celebrity Cruises FO.indd 19

3/13/20 11:56 AM

20 / FTE apex asia Preview

FTE APEX Asia EXPO: November 10-11

Transforming tomorrow’s journey


his year's Future Travel Experience APEX Asia EXPO, in Singapore, will reflect groundbreaking developments in the travel tech space and focus on how these are transforming tomorrow's journey. Here FTE’s editor, Marta Dimitrova, shares her predictions on trends likely to shape the onboard passenger experience over the next 12 months and beyond.

Aviation leads the way

Technology is central to the future of the air transport industry, and as a testament to this, the beginning of this year saw Delta Air Lines become the first airline to keynote CES – the annual trade show for innovators and breakthrough technologies. Delta CEO, Ed Bastian, laid out a compelling vision for the future of

See you in

Singapore November 10-11, 2020 • Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

travel including parallel reality display screens, captivating entertainment options, full-body wearable exoskeletons, AI machine learning operations platforms, and a longawaited promise of free onboard wifi. Aviation is leading the way with groundbreaking developments.

Next step connectivity

The future of the inflight connectivity industry is bright, with a growing number of airlines seeking to digitise their inflight experience in order to keep up with changing digital customer expectations. The opportunity here lies within strategic partnerships with some of the biggest retail giants such as Alibaba or Amazon, as well as streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Airlines must focus on building e-commerce sites that can be accessed

THE 2020 event for inflight catering, wellbeing, design and innovation specialists targetting Asia and beyond. The Onboard Hospitality team is now pulling together its third Forum Asia hospitality trade event, taking place in Singapore, November 2020. The event will again be held within the well-established FTE APEX Asia EXPO and will include a new Hosted

It's Asia's

biggest free to attend EXPO!

Innovating for inflight hospitality excellence


FTE preview.indd 20

3/13/20 12:08 PM

FTE apEx asia prEviEw / 21

both on the ground and inflight. This will provide real opportunities to drive inflight sales through real-time offers and customised initiatives.

evTOL & autonomous travel

APEX Asia EXPO, to help air transport stakeholders adapt to these changes and integrate with these new modes of transport for the good of the industry, and its customers.

A new kind of disruptor has arrived and sustainability is challenging the air transport industry. Despite making efforts to become In 2019, a number of initiatives to a greener industry, aviation is still accelerate the perceived to be a development of significant contributor commercial air taxi to pollution, and as services took place. such we simply can’t Technology will be Recent Volocopter discuss the future instrumental in trials in Singapore, without addressing helping airlines, and those that Uber sustainability. caterers and Elevate is planning in Recent initiatives suppliers reduce Melbourne, Dallas and from tackling carbon emissions and waste emissions to reducing Los Angeles this year, prove that new air single-use plastic both mobility solutions such as eVTOLs and on the ground and inflight, indicate that electric regional aircraft will become airlines and airports are united in their commonplace. efforts to reduce their impact on the The question is how airlines will environment. integrate and leverage the opportunity Technology such as predictive that urban air mobility offers in the analytics, digital twins and virtual reality end-to-end customer journey. will be instrumental here, as airlines, To start a discussion on the topic caterers and suppliers seek ways to this year FTE is hosting its own FTE Air reduce carbon emissions and better MobilityX show, co-located with FTE manage waste.

Be a part of our

Buyers Programme. We’re street food team will moderate debate on the inviting key hospitality buyers EXPO stage and host uniquely Asian festival and VIP to a dedicated zone where they networking activities showcasing buyers' lounge can join peer-to-peer roundtable the culinary and cultural excellence debates, evolve thought leadership of the region. Our ‘Street Food Festival’ for our sector, and hear from some element has become a highlight of the show, inspirational speakers, as well acting as a magnet to as interact with inflight delegates and adding Combine catering, wellbeing, design colour, excitement and and innovation specialists. a truly Asian vibe to tech talk with The Onboard Hospitality the exhibition hall. hospitality



FTE preview.indd 21

3/13/20 12:08 PM

22 / how to...

How to...

keep content current From inflight analytics to fast deployment, April Waterston explains how airlines can use technology to ensure content onboard stays relevant Face facts

In the era of Netflix and Amazon Prime recommendations, targeted ads and binge viewing, passengers today expect to find and interact with content onboard in just the same way they do on the ground.

Collect data

Start by finding out exactly what content your passengers want to watch. The Spafax IQ platform is among those which uses smart data analytics to determine passenger viewing habits and preferences. Kevin Birchmore, global vp technical sales at Spafax, explains: “It’s very much about focusing on the content. What content is doing well, what content isn’t doing very well, and why." Armed with this information, airlines can determine what content is working, and what changes they need to make.

long the system was in use for, what were the peak times during the flight for passengers to connect, and how content preferences vary between different routes.”

Be responsive

Optimise the system

Touch Inflight Solutions also offers insight into how content is viewed with its system-agnostic analysis platform. By tracking how passengers use their IFE systems, Touch Inflight can provide data on how many ‘clicks’ or selections a piece of content receives, and also more detailed performance analysis like play time and engagement. Inflight Dublin provides similar data on how inflight content is consumed. Barry Flynn, cco at Inflight Dublin, explains: “We look at stats on how

Fact file Spafax IQ uses smart data analytics to determine passenger viewing habits Inflight Dublin has the capability to deploy content swiftly to keep up with demand

Touch Inflight Solutions can provide data on how many ‘clicks’ or selections a piece of content receives, as well as more detailed performance analysis like play time and engagement

Once decisions have been made to onboard new content, it’s important to act fast. Inflight Dublin has the capability to deploy content swiftly to keep up with demand. “As a content service provider which provides the hardware, the software and the content, we have internalised a number of phases of work, which allows us to deliver more quickly and with a higher degree of accuracy," Flynn explains. “Clients can do small updates of content out of cycle. This opens up new content categories including advertising, daily news, and sports events.” spafax.com; touch. aero; inflightdublin.com •


How to data driven.indd 22

3/13/20 12:09 PM

CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE AND INNOVATION FOR THE ONBOARD HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IN AIR, RAIL AND CRUISE Now it their sixth year, these awards recognise excellence in products innovating and changing onboard hospitality for the better. There are 11 categories including technology. You can explore all the entries online at onboardhospitality.com and see which ones our readers chose as finalists. All finalists have now been put forward to our expert panel of judges.


2 02 0 Gateretail crew portal

Technology F inalists Motus

Gategroup EPOS System

Entries for 2021, open from September 1, 2020 online at onboardhospitality.com Awards tech.indd 12

3/17/20 03:14 PM

Untitled-2 Untitled-1 1

03/03/2020 09:09 3/13/20 12:33 PM

Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

Onboard Tech innovation March/April 2020  

As we enter the new decade, technology has perhaps never played such an important part in all our lives. The challenges of COVID-19 have hig...

Onboard Tech innovation March/April 2020  

As we enter the new decade, technology has perhaps never played such an important part in all our lives. The challenges of COVID-19 have hig...